EIA Forecasts Lower U.S. Crude Imports

Oil pumpjack
Oil pumpjack

In its monthly Short-term Energy Outlook (STEO) published today, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said it expects the net import share of U.S. oil consumption to drop to 40% in 2012, down from 45% a year ago and over 60% in 2005. The EIA forecasts a further drop in imports to 37% of total U.S. consumption in 2013, the first time since 1991 that imports will supply less than 40% of total U.S. consumption.

Total U.S. production in 2012 is expected to average 6.4 million barrels a day, up 800,000 barrels a day from last year's total. The EIA expects 2013 production of 7.1 million barrels a day, an increase of 200,000 barrels a day from last month's estimate and the highest average annual production rate in the U.S. since 1992.

Consumption of gasoline in the U.S. is pegged to decline by 30,000 barrels a day in 2012, due mainly to increased fuel efficiency in the U.S. fleet. Gasoline consumption is expected to remain flat in 2013.

Concerning prices, the EIA expects spot prices for Brent crude to average $112 a barrel in 2012, declining to $104 a barrel in 2013. The EIA forecasts WTI spot prices to average $89 a barrel in 2012 and $88 a barrel next year. The price differential between Brent and WTI is expected to average $21 a barrel in the fourth quarter of this year, and to drop to $11 by the end of 2013.

Globally, the EIA forecasts that liquid fuels consumption will rise by 800,000 barrels a day in 2012 and an additional 1 million barrels a day in 2013, driven by demand from emerging markets. OPEC nations are expected to continue supplying more than 30 million barrels of crude a day and non-OPEC supply is expected to rise by 1.3 million barrels a day in 2013, more than half of which is expected to come from the U.S.

The EIA's current STEO is available here.

Paul Ausick

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Originally published